Effects of Russian ban still keenly felt by farmers – Minister Creed

The effects of the Russian ban on agriculture products are still being keenly felt by farmers, the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed has said.

The Russian ban of EU food products was introduced after the EU put in place economic sanctions against Russia following its actions in the east of Ukraine.

The Minister said that the adverse effects of the closure of the Russian market arise from the combined impact of the African Swine Fever (ASF)-related ban of February 2014 and the Presidential decree of August 2014.

“These effects are still being keenly felt by farmers. While this is a difficult issue, Ireland has continued to urge the Commission at every opportunity over recent months, both at official and political levels, to intensify its political, technical and diplomatic efforts to unlock the Russian market.”

The Minister said that it Ireland has urged the Commission to unlock the market in Russia, particularly in relation to products outside the scope of the Presidential decree, such as pig lards, fats and offals.

I have personally raised the issue with Commissioner Hogan and at Council of Ministers. For its part, the Commission has been working to make progress on this issue.

“It has been in regular, direct communication with the Russian authorities in relation to the ASF ban, arguing that an EU-wide ban is totally disproportionate given the limited incidence of ASF in a small number of Member States.”

Minister Creed said it has also taken a case against Russia to the WTO’s dispute settlement panel.

“This recently found broadly in favour of the EU, although an appeal process is expected to follow.”

In the meantime, the Minister said that the pigmeat sector continues to be supported via the exceptional market support measures agreed by Member States in recent months.